My first year in Japan (2004) my Vulcanus programme mates and I went to a temple and a monk taught us some Zen meditation techniques. First, he gave us a brief theoretical introduction to the Buddhist origins of Zen meditation. And then we moved on to a 35 minute practical session where we tried to free our minds from everything. Meaning that the goal of meditation is to “not think about anything”, as those of you who have read books on the subject already know. The thing is that we had to sit in a very uncomfortable position without moving a muscle for more than half an hour. If you twitch one bit, the monk comes with a stick and hits you between the shoulder and the neck. I didn’t receive any hits, but our friend Vasco got a pretty hard one for losing his concentration.
Here is a Zen short story:
A long time ago, a student was trying every day to understand the true meaning of Zen, and as all his efforts were in vain, his master hit him with a stick all the time. One day the student decided to leave and travel to try and learn what Zen was. A few years later, he came back to see his master. He asked him, “Do you know now what is Zen?”. And the student said, “Yes, this is Zen”, while picking up the stick and hitting his master.
At the end of the session we took some pictures:
Albert, Javi and Arnaud “meditating”